WP Engine: My Pros and Cons of WP Engine Hosting Web Hosts For Business
WP Engine is a Managed WordPress Hosting service based in Austin, TX. They were one of the (if not the) very first business to supply handled hosting services particularly for WordPress. Web Hosts For Business
While they have lots of competitors in both the basic hosting and handled WordPress hosting verticals, they are still the market leader in many ways -and they have broad name recognition and cutting-edge features.
With the development of both self-hosted WordPress and site home builders, the hosting market has become a super-confusing place.
I wrote an entire post about WordPress Hosting vs. Web Hosting. However here’s the short variation: They all vary in services offered. Some merely have WordPress-trained tech support. Some deal services such as server-side features and staging for WordPress.
And then there’s a separate level of handled WordPress Hosting where you are not truly buying hosting per se, however rather services to keep your WordPress set up live. Essentially, a Managed WordPress Hosting service offers a menu of services tailored to WordPress at a greater rate point, so that the site owner can focus less on speed + security and more on the site content + functionality.
Every rival in the Managed WordPress Hosting has a different offering. And there is no standardized “menu” of options, however as a whole, they all compete with conventional shared Linux hosting offerings and tailored WordPress hosting choices.
Either way, that’s the field where WP Engine plays. It’s confusing, yes, however it is essential to comprehend before making apples to oranges contrasts.
There are a lot of WP Engine evaluates online, typically with user-generated reviews based on anecdotes and personal experience. That’s fine however I take a various method. This evaluation will look at the pros + cons of WP Engine in the context of all web hosting choices to see who it is a “finest fit” for. Web Hosts For Business
I have actually utilized WP Engine for numerous jobs given that 2012. I do not utilize them for my main websites today (see conclusion), however I do have a current client on WP Engine who absolutely likes them. Here’s my WP Engine evaluation structured as benefits and drawbacks.
Disclosure: I receive referral fees from any business pointed out. All data & viewpoint is based on my experience as a paying consumer or specialist to a paying customer.
Pros of WP Engine
To begin, WP Engine does pretty much measure up to its pitch on its homepage where they promise “sensational speed, powerful security, and best-in-class customer support.” Here is their promotion pitch video:
They primarily target websites that are moving from other hosting companies (ie, customers dissatisfied with current hosting).
Here are some of the big advantages that I’ve seen as a customer & consultant to a customer. Web Hosts For Business
Speed and Performance
There are a lot of variables that enter into website speed, however the rule of thumb is that the more complex your site is, the more complicated the solutions to speed become.
From the box, WordPress is relatively lean and fast. If you are running a primarily text site with a couple of standard plugins and a few little images, you’ll be fine with a budget-friendly shared hosting plan from somebody like InMotion, HostGator or Bluehost.
But few website owners keep their WordPress set up lean. There’s typically extra plugins, custom-made style files, lots of images, widgets, ads, types and more.
All these features combined with decent levels of traffic can begin to slow down your WordPress install.
But a sluggish site does not indicate that you need a bigger, much better server. It does imply that you need to get smarter about speed. Sometimes it’s as basic as getting a more effective server, however sometimes it’s more about caching particular resources in a certain order and optimizing your files. In other words, it gets complex.
Imagine you are trying to transport a trailer with a pickup. Imagine your trailer keeps getting heavier. It’s meaningless to keep grumbling that your truck is not huge enough when you may simply need to get rid of the emergency brake, set up a turbocharger, revitalize the transmission fluid and consolidate your load.
The point is that WordPress needs assistance to remain quickly as you grow. There are plenty of options … however either you or a developer need to implement them.
That’s where handled WordPress hosting is available in. WP Engine looks after (almost) all speed issues. They have tailored servers with extremely aggressive caching and even more advanced “stack” than a normal webhosting. They likewise have trained support who will enter into your WordPress install and identify the specific chokepoint to obtain your website moving. Web Hosts For Business
They don’t even permit caching plugins on their installs because they have actually such a customized caching setup.
The intriguing thing is that even unoptimized WordPress installs still do well on their platform because their platform does the extra work.
Here’s the speed test for among my clients on WP Engine (who has a puffed up style, additional scripts, too many uncompressed images, to name a few things):
Keep in mind the Time To First Byte and the Start Render numbers. That determines how rapidly the server returned enough information to start filling the page.
It’s nice to have that type of speed right out of the box, and have it remain that way no matter how big or complex the website gets.
*Keep in mind that the other point here is that if you are obsessed about speed, you can get even better numbers with WP Engine than you may get with other services because you are complimentary to concentrate on speed factors that you can quickly manage like image compression, use of scripts, etc.
. The last observation on speed, WP Engine not just supplies an integrated CDN, however they likewise offer worldwide information centers in case your audience is mostly in Asia and/or Europe. Web Hosts For Business
If you are trying to get top speeds without messing with layered caching plugins ” the WP Engine does exactly that.
Customer Support Web Hosts For Business
Consumer support has actually been a core part of WP Engine’s pitch given that they wased established. After all, they are really offering more of a service (ie, managed hosting) than a product (ie, hosting). It makes sense for them to put a big emphasis on support.
Here’s a screenshot from among my first contacts with support back in 2012:
Look at the response|reaction|action} time, that wasn’t an autoresponder either.
Now, the company has grown & changed a lot since then. They went through a stretch where they were getting a great deal of criticism about over-promising on support.
That stated, the hard feature of consumer support is that so much of the judgment is anecdotal. Everybody has a story, but you never know if the story is since they spoke with the one rockstar-vs-rookie having an awesome-vs-terrible day. Like I mention in every hosting evaluation, the fundamental part is to see if a business deals with support as a financial investment or an expense.
I prefer to look for access, systems, and knowledge, all 3 require a financial investment of loan, time and proficiency.
Based upon my recent interactions and research, they are doing much better striking all 3 boxes. They preserve a variety of support channels (including phone for non-Basic strategies). They have a fast, trackable ticketing system and are offered everywhere on the website via chat.
Based on their guide videos and comprehensive knowledgebase, they tick the understanding box. Every support that I or my customer has actually communicated with in fact knew the great functions of WordPress and has been able to problem-solve on the fly.
The most outstanding (yes, this is anecdotal, however still) experience was a three-way call between my customer, myself and WP Engine throughout my client’s transition to HTTPS/ SSL. The associate was not just able to get on (and remain on) the phone, however he was able to adeptly assist us “turn the switch” quickly in addition to looking after several concerns (ie, publishing a non-HTTP sitemap and repairing insecure image links) within WordPress for us. Web Hosts For Business
I’m sure that WP Engine still has support concerns,particularly due to the fact that their custom-made platform puts a lot of pressure on quick, available support (as I’ll display in the drawbacks). However they seem to understand that support is core to their value and do make the needed financial investment.
WordPress now powers over a quarter of the entire Internet. That implies that it is a prime target for hackers & malware suppliers.
However there is nothing inherently insecure about WordPress that is not an issue with all software application. WordPress has the upside of being open-source with a large neighborhood launching updates & screening vulnerabilities.
If you run your own WordPress install, the security fundamentals are fairly simple:
- Keep your install & all your plugins updated
- Only install files from reputable creators
- Run a security plugin to lock down the most common brute force attacks
- Keep a backup for when things go wrong
* Aside, I use JetPack for the last two. It’s made by & powered by Automattic, the business arm of WordPress.
You’ll discover that although security on WordPress is simple, the obligation is still on you to keep things secure. Much like having a deadbolt not does anything if you do not lock it, keeping your website secure is still ultimately on you.
And like speed & efficiency, WP Engine essentially takes all those finest practices and does them for you. They run automated backups to keep whatever off-site & ready to roll back if something takes place. Since you technically have an “install” on their server (instead of an account), they deal with a lot of security concerns worldwide on the server level.
WP Engine likewise works carefully with top security companies on code evaluations in addition to running their own group. They likewise make the warranty that if you’re hacked, they look after it for free.
I personally have actually never ever been hacked on my main/ or secondary sites (knock on wood), but have helped clients who have actually been. It’s discouraging, laborious & an usually pricey situation (even if you are utilizing a service like Sucuri). Having an expert security group look after your WordPress set up is a big pro in my book. Web Hosts For Business
Pricing on Value
WP Engine is not cheap. Their Start-up plan is $35/mo and consists of a single set up and only approximately 25,000 visits per month.
For benchmarking, you can get a powerful, trustworthy VPS (ie, your very own not-shared server) for the very same rate from InMotion. And if you are simply beginning with a single domain, you can get a shared hosting plan from Bluehost for just a couple dollars monthly.
Both of which permit more storage & more visits (ie, generally as numerous as you can handle) than WP Engine. I have actually run sites that have actually had 60k sees per month on a shared server. I’ve also run lots of small WordPress sites off a low expense shared hosting.
However I’ll cover that rates downside in the cons of WP Engine, however here’s the thing.
For some website owners, if you break out WP Engine by total worth & factor in your very own (or your designer’s) time, their rates is fantastic.
Simply running WordPress updates on a monthly basis & QA’ing your installation can take around 30 minutes every month. If your (or your dev’s) services are billed at $50 (or more)/ hour, then that’s WP Engine’s whole regular monthly cost right there.
If you lose any gos to due to downtime from a bad plugin upgrade, then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
If you do a hot-fix (ie, you don’t utilize a staging location) on your PHP code, and knock your site down … then that might be WP Engine’s entire month-to-month charge right there.
Losing visitors due to speed concerns or downtime expenses lost earnings.
In addition, premium security can cost about $16/month minimum. Not to point out any personal or developer time repairing issues.
Basically, if your time is better allocated far from technical problems, then WP Engine makes a lot of sense on worth. As a handled WordPress hosting service, that’s actually their thing. Hosting services are an investment rather than an expense.
Which sort of value-based rates segues into another pro for WP Engine, their concentrate on their core markets. Web Hosts For Business
Like I stated at the start, WP Engine isn’t for everybody. There are 3 kinds of clients that WP Engine appears to be a suitable for. For those 3 kinds of clients, WP Engine has a strong focus with a lot of tools & focus for each.
From their backend process, the first consumer type seems to be WordPress developers and designers who want to focus on advancement & style without handling hosting upkeep, and have customers who have some budget plan. The designer/dev develops the site straight in WP Engine’s staging environment, introduces the site, then hands the site over to their customer.
The designer can assure their client that WP Engine handles the hosting, security & speed. There’s little need for a continuous fundamental site maintenance. For this market, WP Engine has interesting tools including staging, git push, website migration and transferable installs.
The second customer type is the growing site owner who is annoyed at needing to handle technical development headaches. They have actually outgrown their shared hosting and need to relocate to a much better host.
They’re also established enough that they have some budget plan for handled services. WP Engine has tools like the automatic migration tool & client support to make that procedure happen. The phone support is a crucial element, specifically having the ability to “simply call WP Engine an have them repair it.”
The third client type is a start-up website owner that has the budget and wants a long-lasting platform that they can grow with. They are comfy discovering WP Engine’s special backend and plan on releasing a near-complete website simultaneously.
They do not have any prior habits or customizeds brought over from previous hosts or sites. Once again, for this market, WP Engine has the scalable features, clients, and support that they can make pledges and offer support to win & keep this type of consumer.
With these types of consumers, WP Engine knows how & where they are originating from, many of the improvements they make are concentrated on these markets (ie, the Git push functionality), rather than mass-market enhancements like knowledge-bases, instinctive backend, and so on.
This benefit resembles WP Engine’s market focus, but it’s truly worth calling out in this review revision. Web Hosts For Business
WP Engine stands out not just on current features however likewise on creating brand-new, cutting-edge hosting features. Every version of WordPress 4 has actually rolled out brand-new developer functions that WP Engine has actually been able to incorporate.
Even general web advancement best practices have changed radically considering that I began observing the market *. WP Engine has actually developed tools to match.
* I’m an SEO/ online marketer by trade. I know adequate web advancement to incorporate best practices into execution & tasks with designers.
Here’s a screenshot of WP Engine’s Git Push setup that has been around for more than 2 years.
Even for non-developers like me, WP Engine has one-click staging areas to allow even DIY siteowners to get away from “cowboy coding” into proper web development best practices.
There are too many other specifics here to name, but in general, WP Engine has a strength in rolling out new, useful hosting features.
Cons of WP Engine
Just like any service, WP Engine is not the best fit for everybody. There are lots of WP Engine grievances around the Internet. Some are anecdotal. Some are hyperbole (ie, SEOs grumbling about dev websites). And lots of are valid since they just aren’t a suitable for everybody. For all their awesomeness in some areas, they have some cons which keep them from being a good suitable for some clients. I do not use them for this website since I do not require much of their features and I’m comfy “putting pieces together” w/ my InMotion VPS setup. Web Hosts For Business
All that stated, here are a few of the larger image downsides of utilizing WP Engine.
Initial and Ongoing Complexity
To achieve the speed, security, and scale they assure, WP Engine does things differently. And that distinction can be rather made complex– specifically if you have simply enough experience with hosting environments to be harmful.
Their backend setup has actually improved. It’s cleaner, however it’s still customized. It’s absolutely nothing like a conventional cPanel hosting backend. Unlike lots of hosting companies, they likewise don’t offer DNS nameservers.
Even if all the functions exist, the special backend can result in some designers making mistakes varying from irritating redirect loops to duplicate content concerns to leaving the dev website available to the general public or just not enabling the functions you’re buying.
If it weren’t for fantastic support, I think they ‘d lose more beginner consumers than they currently do.
Like lots of customized platforms, it makes good sense once you get over the knowing curve. However WP Engine’s onboarding is extremely developer-focused & remains so exception-focused that they never ever describe finest practice for the general user. Web Hosts For Business
Here is their video on pressing your website live –
I have actually set up my share of sites from platforms to custom hosts to cPanel hosting sites, but I needed to enjoy that video numerous times to make sure I was pointing the right A record/ CNAME to the best IP address.
Again, if you remain in WP Engine’s core markets, the customized backend isn’t going to be a substantial deal (once you get past the knowing curve). But for most, you’ll likely get to discover first hand about WP Engine’s support group.
However here’s the important things.
WP Engine never ever really stops being wacky and complex. In their knowledgebase, they have a variety of website checklists to assist fix all sorts of issues.
And ” if you did not setup your DNS exactly how they’ve recommended ” your site could go down at any time.
Once again– they have reasons they do all this. And in most cases, support will just take care of everything.
However, you still don’t get to set & forget your website. Sure, you don’t technically do not have to enter into the weeds of a server panel. In numerous hosting cases (ie, a handled VPS), you don’t have to do it anyhow, and when you do, the knobs and buttons are familiar. Web Hosts For Business
WP Engine’s proprietary setup cuts both ways in terms of reducing & increasing complexity.
This con is also related to WP Engine’s special setup. In order to run their architecture in addition to possible, all the installs on their platform have to be rather consistent.
They need to have predictable plugins; predictable visitor patterns; predictable use cases. Every hosting company has rules (or extremely real physical limits), but WP Engine goes a bit further to define exactly what you can and can’t have on your WordPress set up in addition to tiered overage prices to dissuade seasonal traffic spikes and local storage use.
They do prohibit certain plugins & admin behavior for excellent factors, however those bans restrict versatility and experimentation if your website might manage it.
For instance, Yet Another Associated Post Plugin is a common plugin. It’s resource extensive, but on smaller sized websites, it does the job well. It’s not allowed on WP Engine. That’s bad or bad always. However it does make WP Engine less versatile and open up to experimentation compared with running a shared or VPS server.
The method their rates is structured allows for less adaptability too. It’s a positive that they will manage all the traffic you can send, however it’s likewise pricey to pay based upon a number of sees.
If you are running a huge launch; are a seasonal company; or simply want to drive a rise of traffic to your site, you’ll need to factor extra hosting expenses into the mix. That puts a cap on how flexible you wish to be with your marketing.
If you are running a lean cached website on a VPS server, you can deal with a lot more traffic than WP Engine would permit on an Individual or Business. And this point goes further if your site needs numerous plugins for complete performance.
The exact same opts for storage. With WP Engine, you are spending for performance, not for storage. So if you are seeking to utilize a server for media storage … that use case is out.
Additionally, you can’t really do automatic e-mail marketing campaigns from WP Engine. This was something that my customer got called for & wound up having to do an uncomfortable migration to another email provider mid-campaign.
In any case, that point segues into the last con I discovered with WP Engine, their rates based upon functions.
Pricing on Features and Usage
With WP Engine, you are normally spending for efficiency & not having to think too much about maintenance, security & speed. If you look at WP Engine’s pricing based upon the features you’re getting, you truly don’t get a whole lot.
And if you are the type who will consider your site’s health anyway (ie, keeping WordPress upgraded and normally logging in regularly), you’ll likely be paying for “management” that is unneeded. Web Hosts For Business
Many shared hosting servers can manage the very same traffic numbers as WP Engine and cost a fraction of the cost. My individual site (working on a shared hosting strategy from HostGator with standard caching) managed more than 15,000 gos to in a 24 hour period when a post of mine went viral.
And if you are running a dependable VPS, you can certainly handle a lot more for much less.
They are fairly transparent about how they count sees, but it can still be rather a surprise for “small” site owners how rapidly they can enter the $290 each month tier.
And as discussed previously that does not even consist of a number of the features you don’t get with WP Engine’s plans. You cannot run any e-mail from your servers. You have low limits on regional storage. Anything above the limitations requires additional expenses & technical application of Amazon cloud services.
And most notably for me, you are limited on your installs. If you have a few side jobs or low-traffic test sites, you have to factor those into the price. You can’t utilize them to expand the expense of your plan,specifically if you are hitting your visitor cap rather than your install cap.
If you are planning to pay for hosting: ie, a server that will hold & serve up your site files, WP Engine is an expensive choice, specifically compared to other non-managed hosting choices.
Like any service, it’s not about exactly what is best overall, but exactly what is finest for you based on your goals, budget, resources & practices.
If you remain in exactly what I consider WP Engine’s core markets, they offer an excellent service with a solid product. Their pricing is competitive in the Managed WordPress Hosting area, and they provide more functions than “WordPress hosting” plans from other hosting brands. Their feature-set is unmatched for savvy DIYers, WordPress website developers and/or high-traffic sites that do not want to stress over hosting problems.
If managed hosting is a suitable for you, then go have a look at WP Engine’s strategies here.
They do a 60-day money-back guarantee. So do a test install and see what you consider their backend. Make certain to talk w/ support & sales.
If you’re outgrowing your current host & desire more freedom/ better rates than WP Engine, check out InMotion Hosting’s VPS alternative. I have actually valued their balance of intuitive backend & responsive customer care.
And last but not least, if you are more confused than ever, go take my WordPress hosting quiz. I put all these elements into a fun, Buzzfeed-esque quiz to streamline things. Web Hosts For Business